BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- The Watchung Hills High School Warriors came into the action Friday night with an unbeaten record as a team and looked to continue building on their start to the 2017-18 season. The Warriors (ranked No. 13 on NJ.com’s Top 20) got four pins as they defeated the Highlanders by a final score of 62-13 in Berkeley Heights.
With Governor Livingston missing a few wrestlers, the Warriors recorded a large amount of their match points on forfeits in the 132, 170, 195, 220 and 285-weight classes, totaling for 30 of their points on the night.
Watchung Hills’ Frank Medina (160) got the night started as he took to the mat against Governor Livingston sophomore Joe Scalora. In a quick bout, Media won with a pin at 0:46 of the first round, giving his team a 6-0 lead. They were rewarded six additional points in a forfeit in the 170-pound class, taking a 12-0 lead over the Highlanders.
Governor Livingston senior Quinn Haddad (182) took to the mat, facing off against Watchung Hills’ Justin Hayward. Haddad won the match with a pin at 3:27 (0:33 left in the second round), getting his team within 12-6.
“It’s just about keeping your head up and working hard every day,” Haddad said. “I’m just trying to change some things and keep getting better.”
Haddad recorded his 100th career victory in Wednesday night’s match against Rahway HS.
“We were looking for some matchups there [for Quinn],” Governor Livingston head coach Rick Ortega said. “Quinn is ranked high in the state, so it’s a good match, a good test for him. He did well, looks fantastic. He works very hard.”
With the Warriors already ahead by a score of 30-6, Dylan Kolakowski (106) faced off against Governor Livingston’s Andrew Ciraco. Kolakowski battled to obtain 13 bonus points to secure the win, adding five points for his team, to take a 35-6 lead after a gritty, hard-fought six minute match on the mat.
The Warriors received three more points after Jake Bush (113) successfully obtained more bonus points after a match against Governor Livingston sophomore Harrison Kelly. He earned four bonus points, as compared to Kelly receiving none, adding three more points to give Watchung Hills a 38-6 lead over Governor Livingston.
“We have a lot of kids in the lineup for the first time this year, [including] juniors and seniors that could never get by somebody who was good,” Watchung Hills head coach Dan Smith said. “They put a lot of time into the offseason and it’s starting to pay off for these guys. These guys are doing well.”
Governor Livingston’s David Vill (120) took the mat, facing off against Watchung Hills’ Blake Bana. Vill battled Bana, receiving ten bonus points, as compared to Bana’s one point, providing four points for the Highlanders to cut into the score, 38-10.
The Highlanders’ three other points came from Conner Vill (145), who battled Watchung Hills’ Shane Checko for six minutes, receiving eight bonus points to beat Checko’s five bonus points.
Watchung Hills sent Danny Miller (126) to the mat to take on Governor Livingston’s Marcelo Lugo. Miller won the match, securing a pin at 1:51 of the first round, which, at the time, gave his team a 44-10 lead. He credits the teamwork displayed for the team’s hot start to the season.
“Our team has been coming together,” Miller said. “We have a lot of good chemistry and we’ve been working hard all offseason together at our new building facility we have. We’ve been coming together and it’s been paying off this year and it’s showing.”
After Watchung Hills subsequently received six points with a forfeit in the 132-pound class to take a 50-10 lead, Ed Williams of Watchung Hills faced off against Governor Livingston’s Greg Friedenberg.
Williams recorded a pin at 0:58 of the first round to give his team a 56-10 lead, crediting the practices and work in the offseason towards the team’s successes.
“We’ve been working hard in the room and in practice every day to do well this season,” Williams said. “So far, most things have been going our way.”
Rob Saum of Watchung Hills (152) faced off against James Snyder and closed it out with a pin at 1:30 of the first round, making the score 62-13 and ending the match. Watchung Hills head coach Dan Smith was impressed with the work on the mat.
“Today, our kids wrestled hard,” Smith said. “I think some of our guys panicked a little in situations, but overall, there were guys who won [that] were supposed to win, did what they had to do.”
The Governor Livingston Highlanders (7-3) head off on the road to face off in their next match at Middlesex HS Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
The Watchung Hills Warriors (12-0) head back home to take part in a four-team meeting with Hillsborough HS, North Hunterdon HS (ranked No. 20 on NJ.com’s Top 20) and Woodstown HS Saturday morning at 9 a.m.